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Reproduction. 2013 Dec 19;147(2):221-9. doi: 10.1530/REP-13-0356. Print 2014 Feb.

Role of leptin receptors in granulosa cells during ovulation.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, McGill University, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Canada H9X 3V9.


Leptin is an important hormone influencing reproductive function. However, the mechanisms underpinning the role of leptin in the regulation of reproduction remain to be completely deciphered. In this study, our objective is to understand the mechanisms regulating the expression of leptin receptor (Lepr) and its role in ovarian granulosa cells during ovulation. First, granulosa cells were collected from superovulated mice to profile mRNA expression of Lepr isoforms (LeprA and LeprB) throughout follicular development. Expression of LeprA and LeprB was dramatically induced in the granulosa cells of ovulating follicles at 4 h after human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) treatment. Relative abundance of both mRNA and protein of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (Cebpβ) increased in granulosa cells from 1 to 7 h post-hCG. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay confirmed the recruitment of Cebpβ to Lepr promoter. Thus, hCG-induced transcription of Lepr appears to be regulated by Cebpβ, which led us to hypothesise that Lepr may play a role during ovulation. To test this hypothesis, we used a recently developed pegylated superactive mouse leptin antagonist (PEG-SMLA) to inhibit Lepr signalling during ovulation. I.p. administration of PEG-SMLA (10 μg/g) to superovulated mice reduced ovulation rate by 65% compared with control treatment. Although the maturation stage of the ovulated oocytes remained unaltered, ovulation genes Ptgs2 and Has2 were downregulated in PEG-SMLA-treated mice compared with control mice. These results demonstrate that Lepr is dramatically induced in the granulosa cells of ovulating follicles and this induction of Lepr expression requires the transcription factor Cebpβ. Lepr plays a critical role in the process of ovulation by regulating, at least in part, the expression of the important genes involved in the preovulatory maturation of follicles.

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